Home Coach Kelly Beins has a long history with Unyte-iLs as an avid user and champion of our home programs. A healthcare professional with 26 years of experience, Kelly first started using Unyte-iLs programs ten years ago, in 2011.
Kelly’s professional background is vast and varied. Kelly has worked in practice settings, focused on acute and community mental health, spent time in consulting and administration, and owned her own pediatric clinic for ten years.
These days, along with her work as a Unyte-iLs Home Coach, Kelly operates a small mobile pediatric practice that provides in-home services to children and families. Oh, and she also finds time to coach and mentors pediatric OTs.
Kelly is passionate about making life easier for kids and families living with sensory processing challenges. She even received her certification in Sensory Integration—an accomplishment she worked towards after recognizing her own daughter’s sensory difficulties.
When she’s not working with children and families, Kelly enjoys taking long hikes or doing yoga. But, working with families is where Kelly truly finds her bliss.
Learn more about Home Coach Kelly Beins
First, tell us what led you to Unyte-iLs?
I saw the leaders in my field using and researching Unyte-iLs which made me curious. I also felt intuitively that the multisensory modality of the Focus System could enrich the services I was providing. When I got the training, the science made sense. When I started using it, the outcomes I saw with my clients convinced me to continue.
Walk me through your specific approach to using the Unyte Home Program
As a Home Coach, I use a strong parent partnership model, where I really try to trust and support parents in using their relationship with their child to implement the program. We brainstorm activities they already do that are enjoyable and I provide as much or as little structure as parents need to also maintain the integrity of the program and optimize potential for success. I also try to offer as much education to parents as I can and consider myself a resource, not the expert, on their child. I always try to work with parents to set up a schedule that feels doable and sustainable over the duration of the program. I want to make things as easy as possible so I try to provide practical tips, tools and ideas and I also try to anticipate potential hurdles in hopes of keeping things easy throughout the program. I guess you could say I am flexible because I know that life happens and so I try to balance flexibility with accountability and resources the entire time we work together. I also incorporate play whenever I can! It’s what children do best and it’s what many grown-ups (including myself) have forgotten.
Why is it important to work with a coach on this journey?
I think the three biggest roles the coach plays are to support accountability, brainstorming, and monitoring for safety. These three things help to ensure consistency with and the integrity of the intervention which is what helps lead a client toward better outcomes; that’s what everyone wants. The Unyte-iLs programs have potential to impact a person’s functioning in many ways. This is a positive thing yet, it also has potential to cause problems if not implemented in a way that is supportive of each individual client. Additionally, parents may not realize that even if they don’t notice problems there may be ways to tweak the program to get even better outcomes. Also, parents aren’t trained clinicians so they can’t or don’t always connect the dots between certain behaviors they see and the program their child is completing. Coaches are trained to see more of the big picture and to ask questions and provide strategies that ensure safety while also making sure everyone benefits as much as they can from the intervention(s)!
What does home coach support look like? What should a client expect?
I offer support via phone, email and zoom. Most programs (short or long) have an increased frequency of meetings at the beginning. The need for support tends to taper off gradually. I usually meet with a client for an hour at the start of their program and that’s after reviewing assessments and intake forms, questionnaires, etc. The frequency after that depends on what program they are completing and how they respond to, and what progress we are seeing. I often meet with clients more frequently and face to face at the beginning for longer programs, then we use email throughout with only intermittent Zoom calls.
Of course, clients are always able to schedule with me when they need or want input, sometimes I will request a check-in if I am hearing something concerning or if it’s been awhile. For shorter programs like the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), I typically meet with the client via Zoom at the start, check in via email throughout and meet at the end of each phase of their SSP program (10 days) to decide next best steps. There are some clients however that want more immediate support and in that case we can schedule for me to observe a session or multiple sessions directly over Zoom. It all just depends on the client’s needs.
How do you build a unique approach for each family or individual you work with?
I have each family complete intake forms and assessment questionnaires which really helps me to decide how to structure their program. I then modify the program and what I am offering the client in the way of suggestions and activities based on what I learn about the child and parent(s) over time. I always incorporate my years of experience and what I’ve seen and know from working with the programs for so many years. Often parent questions will lead me toward offering things in a certain way. For example, I had one parent who really liked me to send a list via email of the key points we discussed during each call; I had another parent who would take notes and send me videos in between our calls; and I had another parent who prefered phone calls because the best time for her to meet was at the end of her work day.
What do you like about working with the Unyte Home Program?
I like the variety of clients I get to meet and thus the variety of programs. I like working remotely because it’s flexible and thus allows me to be more present for my family and in the other roles I play as a therapist. I love the opportunity to work with a company I believe in and to provide services that are at the forefront of evidence-informed practice.
Why should someone sign up for the Unyte Home Program?
I have seen people change their relationships and their lives by using Unyte-iLs programs. The remote delivery option makes it possible to do at home the same work you might do in-person. It’s great for families when in-person just isn’t an option. I also think Unyte-iLs programs can be a great supplement to other services people are providing and can actually help clients improve function more quickly, so there is no need to stop one service in order to do the Unyte Home Program. It’s flexible in nature and can be done in different ways to target a wide variety of skills. One of the biggest advantages I see is that parents are facilitators so the programs can truly make a difference at home.
Can you tell me about a specific person (adult, child or family) who has used this program? How have you seen the program change them over time?
My favorite part of the job is to get emails or to talk with parents who are reporting improvements. Most recently, I was working with a family who have a 12 year-old son struggling with emotional outbursts and social interactions. His mom has reported being afraid of her son and how he is difficult to be around (something I hear from many parents). This mom emailed me to let me know that they are enjoying their time together and doing the program has become something they both look forward to doing. She described it as “an emotional spa treatment” for her. I’ve had another mom report noticing changes in language development and her son becoming more coordinated, within about a month of starting their program.
What would you say to someone—a family or individual—who’s considering signing up for the Unyte Home Program?
I always ask why someone is considering the program because there’s such a range of challenges that the Home Program can address. Beyond that, I would tell them it is one of the most powerful therapeutic tools I have encountered in my 26 years as a therapist. I like that it can address some things that my other services can’t (like auditory sensitivities) and it gets to the root underlying cause of some types of challenges. Lastly, I also make sure everyone starting a program knows, it’s not easy to implement. It requires commitment over a chunk of time and nothing is guaranteed. BUT, it offers true potential for change based on brain science and addresses functional challenges in a completely different way than other services.
If a client were to walk up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Work with and use a coach! We aren’t meant to do things in life alone. Parenting is challenging enough but parenting a child with neurological differences is rarely easy. Working with a coach to implement the Unyte Home Program is one way that parents can rely on the support and expertise of a trained clinician using a tool proven to help with so many things. And, if it doesn’t work, the coach can help to brainstorm why and make referrals for other things that might, either at the end of the program or along the way.
Now You Know How She Coaches, What’s Kelly Like Outside of Work?
Okay Kelly, you’ve told us so much about you as an Occupational Therapist and Home Coach, what do you do for fun?
I LOVE to hike and walk! I also enjoy wine tastings. One of my favorite things is to sit around a fire with friends.
Let’s talk about favourite things, what is your favorite:
TV show? Schitt’s Creek—hands down my covid-highlight!
Book? The Brain that Changes Itself, By Norman Doidge
Meditation? Anything by Sarah Blondin, Live Awake or Poetry by Lisa McCrohan, “Your Light is Rising.”
And finally, something we like to ask everyone, what does kindness mean to you?
Going out of your way to put another person’s needs first when you don’t have to.